What comes to mind when you read those words?
Primitive? Drums made of animal skins? Church services under the trees? All the men checking their arrows at the door?
What about untrained pastors? Education for these rural pastors is a great need in many of our ministries around the world, and together we are working to change that.
Continued training is essential for many occupations, especially pastoring. Many pastors in the western world go through years of seminary, training, and mentorship. However much of the world has little to no access to these kinds of resources. Many of our pastors that serve around the globe don’t even have access to a complete Bible!
There are almost 50 different native people groups in the Peruvian Amazon. Richard Hetzel has had the privilege to travel to many different groups to train pastors during one-week conferences. He travels and teaches as often as he can because that has been the only opportunity the majority of the tribal pastors and leaders have had for training.
That’s where the Shipibo Bible Institute comes in. It was created solely for the purpose of training pastors and potential church leaders within the Shipibo group and is located in Nuevo Paraíso (New Paradise), which is one of the larger Shipibo communities. Richard has been invited to teach regularly there, and to create a four year curriculum.
Some other missionaries who Richard and his wife, Krista, work with helped the Shipibo people plant cocoa in order to sell the beans and create an income for self-sustainability. Now that the crops are in the ground and starting to produce a harvest, they are in a stable enough position to start creating and offering a four year program. This will include developing the classes, and also teaching the Shipibo leaders so they can, in turn, teach the classes to the other pastors and leaders coming in as students.
The institute holds classes three months a year in April, July, and November. Pastors and church leaders from different communities, along with their families, all travel to Nuevo Paraíso by boat for each session.This is an opportunity to meet these leaders in their own culture to teach them what God has taught us, and then show them how they can return to their own villages and teach the people they live with day in and day out.
They are looking to have classes on many different doctrines and books of the Bible, but they don’t want to stop at just theological training. They are looking to offer courses on first aid, agricultural farming of citrus and cocoa plants, grafting plants, raising poultry and other small birds, budgeting, money management, and administration.
There are many different ways to support the Shipibo Bible Institute, but most of all we ask you to pray. Please pray for the leaders, for Richard as he helps guide the pastors, the crops, harvesters to manage the selling of the crops, and the students as they travel from their own communities to Nuevo Paraíso three months out of the year to be trained and grow as Christians and as leaders.
There are opportunities to come down and teach a class. If you are interested in coming to serve at the institute, please contact Bill Passons at AMG International.